, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 17 – Lawyer Paul Muite recorded a statement with the police on Tuesday over the harassment of human rights crusaders Makau Mutua and Maina Kiai who are now being accused of interfering with the ICC cases.
Muite said he went to the CID headquarters to represent Mutua and Kiai who had been summoned following a complaint filed by Ugandan peace negotiator David Nyekorach Matsanga.
Summonses sent to Mutua and Kiai indicate that police are investigating interference with the ICC cases and defaming Matsanga through opinion articles published by the two in Nation Media publications.
Kiai’s article was published on March 10, 2012 while Mutua’s was published a day after on March 11, 2012 in the Sunday Nation.
Both articles were generally about the ICC and interference with witnesses and they are the basis of Matsanga’s complaint at the CID headquarters.
Mutua and Kiai had been summoned to the CID via emails from John Kariuki who heads the Serious Crimes Unit at the CID headquarters and an Inspector of Police who identified herself as Charity Rop.
“The reason why I am writing to you this email is to request for your statement to agree, deny or clarify on this issue so that I can be able to finish my investigations and be able to give a report on the matter,” Inspector Rop said in her email dated April 3 and addressed to Mutua.
Kiai was also summoned to the CID headquarters via an email from Senior Superintendent of Police Kariuki who wrote saying “The reason why I am writing to you this note is to request for your statement to agree or deny you have been interfering with ICC witnesses.”
In his statement on Tuesday, Muite told the police that they had no mandate of investigating a defamation case and should instead advise the complainant Matsanga to file a civil suit.
“This is total harassment on my clients, the complainant who is Matsanga says he has been defamed. When did the police start investigating defamation cases,” Muite asked?
Muite told Capital FM News that he read malice in the whole issue and believes it was being pushed by political forces in the country.
“I have reviewed the contents of the two articles in the context of Dr Matsanga’s complaint with regard to defamation. This is a civil issue and no one is stopping Dr Matsanga from pursuing his rights in that regard in the civil court,” Muite said in his statement to the police.
He said he had gone through articles published by his clients and could not see anything defamatory to Matsanga.
“So who is interfering with witnesses? My clients and I are surprised that the CID are taking the trouble to ask my clients to record statements spending their time and tax payers money instead of investigating Dr Matsanga,” he said.
Muite has advised his clients against travelling to Kenya to record statements with the police over Matsanga’s complaint.
Makau is a distinguished professor at The State University of New York while Maina Kiai is usually in and out of the country.
To Muite, it is Matsanga who should be investigated for interfering with ICC witness number 4 following his much publicized press conference last month where he released a video documentary and booklet containing an alleged confession of the witness allegedly retracting evidence he gave to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.
“I have not been able to identify which section in the penal code or indeed any other law which is suggested by Dr Matsanga my clients have violated or breached with regard to interference with witnesses,” he said adding Matsanga had not disclosed who the complainant was in the matter.
When contacted, Matsanga accused Muite of misleading his clients saying “I have not asked the police to investigate defamation, I only asked the police to investigate the claims made that someone had used a gun to recant evidence from Witness number in the US and as such, Muite is totally misleading.”
“I know where to file a defamation suit, and my international lawyer is under my instructions to file one at the High court at the end of this week where I will be demanding a lot of money from the newspaper and the two individuals,” he said and denied he was working for any politician, government or any of the ICC suspects.
The four Kenyans facing trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity arising from the post election violence of 2007 include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of the civil service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and KASS FM journalist Joshua arap Sang.